Cover image for Abarat
Barker, Clive, 1952-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Joanna Cotler Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxv, 388 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm.

Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, Minnesota, one day finds herself on the edge of a foreign world that is populated by strange creatures, and her life is forever changed.
Reading Level:
760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.5 15.0 64593.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.5 23 Quiz: 33000 Guided reading level: Y.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Fantasy

On Order



Once upon a world
where time is place
a journey beyond imagination
is about to unfold....

It begins in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, U.S.A. Candy Quackenbush lives in Chickentown, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold.

When the answer comes, it's not one she expects. Out of nowhere comes a wave, and Candy, led by a man called John Mischief (whose brothers live on the horns on his head), leaps into the surging waters and is carried away.

Where? To the ABARAT: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day, from the Great Head that sits in the mysterious twilight waters of Eight in the Evening, to the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon, where dragons roam, to the dark terrors of Gorgossium, the island of Midnight, ruled over by the Prince of Midnight himself, Christopher Carrion.

As Candy journeys from one amazing place to another, making fast friends and encountering treacherous foes -- mechanical bugs and giant moths, miraculous cats and men made of mud, a murderous wizard and his terrified slave-she begins to realize something. She has been here before.

Candy has a place in this extraordinary world: she is here to help save the Abarat from the dark forces that are stirring at its heart. Forces older than Time itself, and more evil than anything Candy has ever encountered.

She's a strange heroine, she knows. But this is a strange world.

And in the Abarat, all things are possible.

Author Notes

Critics of the horror story have frequently called Clive Barker the "British Stephen King". Born in Liverpool in 1952, Barker attended the University of Liverpool but moved to London in 1977, where he worked as a commercial artist and became involved with the avant-garde theatrical community. Primarily a playwright during this period, he also produced short fiction that he would eventually publish as part of his six-volume collection titled Books of Blood (1984-85).

More than any other author of contemporary horror fiction, Barker has had a major impact on the direction of the genre. He has introduced strong elements of sex and graphic violence into his fiction, but these elements are employed with an artistic objective. Barker underscores his work with complex subtextual metaphors and artistic allusions. Preoccupied with the craft of writing and with its effect on the reader, Barker is an innovator of formula and genre, often parodying the former in order to change the philosophical contour of the latter.

Barker has achieved commercial success not only with his short fiction but also with his novels, which tend to be epic in scope and to blend elements of horror with those of high fantasy.

Barker is one of the more influential voices in horror cinema, having written and directed a number of films.

His printed works include The Candle in the Cloud, Absolute Midnight, The Scarlet Gospels, and Black is the Devil's Rainbow: Tales of a Journeyman. His films include Dread, Tortured Souls: Animae Damanatae, and Hellraiser.

(Bowker Author Biography) Clive Barker was born in October, 1952, in Liverpool, England, and graduated from Liverpool University. While a student, the resourceful Barker formed a theater company as an outlet for his career as a budding playwright. After minor success with several plays such as "Frankenstein in Love," Barker vaulted onto the horror fiction scene with the publication of his short stories, "The Books of Blood." Later books such as "The Damnation Game," "Imajica," and "Everville" have further established his reputation as a Master of Horror.

Barker gained further popularity with several motion picture projects. Unhappy with previous film versions of his works, he chose to direct the successful movie "Hellraiser," which generated a string of sequels. In addition to writing and directing, Barker has produced several of the movies in both the "Hellraiser" and "Candyman" series.

Besides his writing and film activities, the multitalented Barker is an actor and illustrator, with several published volumes of his artwork. Barker is a recipient of British Fantasy awards and a World Fantasy award, and resides in Los Angeles. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-12. In the first of a planned four-book series, Barker imbues the traditional conventions of fantasy with a whimsical Wonderland quality, providing a host of bizarre characters, a fabulous landscape, and a coherent underlying mythology. Teenage Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, Minnesota, begins (unbeknownst to her) a prophesied journey toward her destiny when she dives into a mysterious sea that appears outside the town. She is carried to Abarat, an unusual archipelago of 25 islands. Happy to get away from her abusive father, resigned mother, and boring town, Candy eagerly enters a series of zany adventures, making friends and eluding enemies as she finds herself caught in the struggle for power between the Lord of Midnight and the architect of the high-tech Commexo City. The multilayered adventure story not only embraces the lands of Oz, Wonderland, and Narnia but also offers a wink and a nod to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. More than 100 full-color paintings by Barker are appropriately quirky, grotesque, and campy, effectively capturing and expanding on the nuances of the tale. Sally Estes.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Candy Quackenbush travels from Chickentown, Minn., to a fantastic otherworld of unbelievable characters, including the Lord of Midnight, Christopher Carrion. "The author's imagination runs wild as he conjures some striking imagery." (Barker's surreal illustrations are not included in this paperback.) Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-10-Candy Quackenbush is tired of her humdrum existence in boring Chickentown, MN. After skipping out on a particularly frustrating day of school, she wanders into an empty field at the edge of town, and suddenly her life takes a remarkable turn. Through a series of most unusual events, she finds herself transported to the Abarat, a magical realm composed of 25 islands, each representing one hour of the day, with the mysterious Twenty-Fifth designated for Time Outside of Time. As she travels around the islands, Candy becomes involved in a power struggle between two ruthless and bitter rivals, Rojo Pixler of Commexo City and Christopher Carrion, the Lord of Midnight. Each man seeks to control the island chain, and Candy may be the deciding factor in its survival or destruction. Barker is obviously more comfortable in the Abarat than he is in our more mundane world; the chapters that take place in Chickentown don't seem fully developed. Once Candy is safely in the fantastical realm, however, the story takes off. The rendering of the Abarat's locales, cultures, and mythology, combined with the author's own full-color illustrations and well-realized characters, allows readers to become quickly immersed in this beautiful and frightening world. In spite of a less-than-credible, almost preternatural calm in the face of the bizarre, Candy makes a fine protagonist, displaying strength, vulnerability, and a lack of the forced spunkiness displayed by some adventurous heroines. This first book in a series of four sets the stage nicely for what is sure to be a rollicking, epic ride.-Alison Ching, North Garland High School, Garland, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Abarat Chapter Thirteen In the Great Head Candy had always prided herself upon having a vivid imagination. When, for instance, she privately compared her dreams with those her brothers described over the breakfast table, or her friends at school exchanged at break, she always discovered her own night visions were a lot wilder and weirder than anybody else's. But there was nothing she could remember dreaming -- by day or night -- that came close to the sight that greeted her in The Great Head of the Yebba Dim Day. It was a city, a city built from the litter of the sea. The street beneath her feet was made from timbers that had clearly been in the water for a long time, and the walls were lined with barnacle-encrusted stone. There were three columns supporting the roof, made of coral fragments cemented together. They were buzzing hives of life unto themselves; their elaborately constructed walls pierced with dozens of windows, from which light poured. There were three main streets that wound up and around these coral hives, and they were all lined with habitations and thronged with the Yebba Dim Day's citizens. As far as Candy could see there were plenty of people who resembled folks she might have expected to see on the streets of Chickentown, give or take a sartorial detail: a hat, a coat, a wooden snout. But for every one person that looked perfectly human, there were two who looked perfectly other than human. The children of a thousand marriages between humankind and the great bestiary of the Abarat were abroad on the streets of the city. Among those who passed her as she ventured up the street were creatures which seemed related to fish, to birds, to cats and dogs and lions and toads. And those were just the species she recognized. There were many more she did not; forms of face that her dream-life had never come near to showing her. Though she was cold, she didn't care. Though she was weary to her marrow, and lost -- oh so very lost -- she didn't care. This was a New World rising before her, and it was filled with every kind of diversity. A beautiful woman walked by wearing a hat like an aquarium. In it was a large fish whose poignant expression bore an uncanny resemblance to the woman on whose head it was balanced. A man half Candy's size ran by with a second man half the first fellow's size sitting in the hood of his robe, throwing nuts into the air. A creature with red ladders for legs was stalking its way through the crowd farther up the street, its enormous coxcomb bright orange. A cloud of blue smoke blew by, and as it passed a foggy face appeared in the cloud and smiled at Candy before the wind dispersed it. Everywhere she looked there was something to amaze. Besides the citizens there were countless animals in the city, wild and domesticated. White-faced monkeys, like troupes of clowns, were on the roofs baring their scarlet bottoms to passersby. Beasts the size of chinchillas but resembling golden lions ran back and forth along the power cables looped between the houses, while a snake, pure white but for its turquoise eyes, wove cunningly between the feet of the crowd, chattering like an excited parrot. To her left a thing that might have had a lobster for a mother and Picasso for a father was clinging to a wall, drawing a flattering self-portrait on the white plaster with a stick of charcoal. To her right a man with a firebrand was trying to persuade a cow with an infestation of yellow grasshoppers leaping over its body to get out of his house. The grasshoppers weren't the only insects in the city. Far from it. The air was filled with buzzing life. High overhead birds dined on clouds of mites that blazed like pinpricks of fire. Butterflies the size of Candyâ€TMs hand moved just above the heads of the crowd, and now and then alighted on a favored head, as though it were a flower. Some were transparent, their veins running with brilliant blue blood. Others were fleshy and fat; these the preferred food of a creature that was a decadently designed as a peacock, its body vestigial, its tail vast, painted with colors for which Candy had no name. And on all sides -- among these astonishments -- were things that were absurdly recognizable. Televisions were on in many of the houses, their screens visible through undraped windows. A cartoon boy was tap-dancing on one screen, singing some sentimental song on another, and on a third a number of wrestlers fought: humans matched with enormous striped insects that looked thoroughly bored with the proceedings. There was much else that Candy recognized. The smell of burned meat and spilled beer. The sound of boys fighting. Laughter, like any other laughter. Tears, like any other tears. To her amazement, she heard English spoken everywhere, though there were dozens of dialects. And of course the mouth parts that delivered the words also went some way to shape the nature of the English that was being spoken: some of it was high and nasal, a singsong variation that almost seemed about to become music. From other directions came a guttural version that descended at times into growls and yappings. All this, and she had advanced perhaps fifty yards in the Yebba Dim Day. The houses at the lower end of The Great Head, where she was presently walking, were all red, their fronts bowed. She quickly grasped why. They were made of boats, or the remains of boats. To judge by the nets that were hung as makeshift doors, the occupants of these houses were the families of fishermen who'd settled here. They'd dragged their vessels out of the cool evening air, and taken a hammer and crowbar to the cabins and the deck and hold, peeling apart the boards, so as to make some kind of habitation on land. There was no order to any of this; people just seemed to take whatever space was available. How else to explain the chaotic arrangement of vessels, one on top of the other? As for power, it seemed to be nakedly stolen from those higher up in the city (and therefore, presumably, more wealthy). Cables ran down the walls, entering houses and exiting again, to provide service for the next house. It was not a foolproof system by any means. At any one moment, looking up at the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of heaped-up houses, somebody's lights were flickering, or there was an argument going on about the cables. No doubt the presence of monkeys and birds, pecking at the cables, or simply swinging from them, did not improve matters. It was a wonder, Candy thought, that this outlandish collection of people, animals and habitations worked at all. She could not imagine the people of Chickentown putting up with such chaotic diversity. What would they think of the ladder-legged creature or the smoke creature, or the baby beast throwing nuts in the air? I need to remember as many details as I can, so when I get back home I can tell everybody what it was like, down to the last brick, the last butterfly. I wonder, she thought to herself, if they make cameras here? If they have televisions, she reasoned, then surely they have cameras. Of course she'd first have to find out if the few soaked and screwed-up dollars she had in the bottom of her pocket were worth anything here. If they were, and she could find somewhere to purchase a camera, then she could make a proper record of what she was seeing. They she'd have proof, absolute proof that this place, with all its wonders, existed. "Are you cold?" The woman who had addressed her looked as though she might have some Sea-Skipper in her heritage. Vestigial gills ran from the lower half of her cheek into her neck, and there was a faintly mottled quality to her skin. Her eyes had a subtle cast of silver about them. "Actually I am a little," Candy said. "Come with me. I'm Izarith." "I'm Candy Quackenbush. I'm new here." "Yes, I could tell," Izarith said. "It's cold today; the water gets up through the stones. One day this place is just going to rot and collapse on itself." "That would be a pity," Candy said. "You don't live here," Izarith said, with a trace of bitterness. She led Candy to one of the houses made from fishing boats. As she followed the woman to the threshold, Candy felt just a little pang of doubt. Why was she being invited into Izarith's house so quickly, without any real reason, beyond that of a stranger's generosity? Izarith seemed to sense her unease. "Don't come in if you don't want to," she said. "I just thought you looked in need of a fire to warm you through." Before Candy could reply there was a series of crashes from outside the Head, accompanied by a din of yells and screams. "The dock!" Candy said, looking back toward the door. Obviously the jetty had finally given out beneath the weight of the crowd. There was a great rush of people out to see the calamity, which was of course only going to make matters worse out there. Izarith showed no desire to go and see what had happened. She just said: "Are you coming?" "Yes," said Candy, offering the woman a smile of thanks and following her inside. Just as Izarith had promised there was a fire in the little hearth, which the woman fuelled with a handful of what looked like dried seaweed. The kindling was consumed quickly and brightly. A soothing wave of warmth hit Candy. "Oh, that's nice," she said, warming her hands. On the floor in front of the fire was a child of perhaps two, her features one generation further removed from the sea-dwelling origins of her grandparents, or perhaps her great-great-grandparents. "This is Maiza. Maiza, this is Candy. Say hello." "Hell. O," said Maiza. With her duty to courtesy done, Maiza returned to playing with her toys, which were little more than painted blocks of wood. One of them was a boat, painted red; a crude copy, perhaps, of the vessel whose boards had built these walls. Izarith went to check on the other child in the room; a baby, asleep in a cot. "That's Nazré," she said. "He's been sick since we came here. He was born at sea, and I believe he wants to go back there." She bent low, talking softly to the baby. "That's what you want, isn't it, dearling? You want to be out away from here." "You want that too?" Candy said. "With all my heart. I hate this place." "Can't you leave?" Izarith shook her head. "My husband, Ruthus, had a boat, and we used to fish around the Outer Islands, where the shoals are still good. But the boat was getting old. So we came here to trade it in for a new one. We had some money from the season's fishing and we thought we'd be able to get a good boat. But there were no new boats to be had. Nobodyâ€TMs building anymore. And now we're almost out of money. So my husband's working putting in toilets for the folks in the towers, and I'm stuck down here with the children." As she told her tale, she pulled back a makeshift curtain which divided the little room in two and, sorting through a box of garments, she selected a simple dress, which she gave to Candy. "Here," she said. "Put this on. If you wear those wet clothes much longer you'll get phlegmatic." Gratefully, Candy put it on, feeling secretly ashamed of her initial suspicion. Izarith obviously had a good heart. She had very little to share, but what she had, she was offering. "It suits you," Izarith said, as Candy tied a simple rope belt around her waist. The fabric of the dress was brown, but it had a subtle iridescence to it; a hint of blue and silver in its weave. "What's the currency here?" Candy asked. Plainly Izarith was surprised by the question; understandably so. But she answered anyway. "It's a zem," she said. "Or a paterzem, which is a hundred zem note." "Oh." "Why do you ask this question?" Candy dug in the pocket of her jeans. "It's just that I have some dollars," she said. "You have dollars?" Izarith replied, her mouth wide in astonishment. "Yes. A few." Candy pulled the sodden notes out and carefully spread them on the hearth, where they steamed in front of the fire. Izarith's eyes didn't leave the bills from the moment they appeared. It was almost as though she was witnessing a miracle. "Where did you get those …?" she said, her voice breathless with astonishment. Finally she tore her gaze from the hearth and looked up at Candy. "Wait," she said. "Is it possible?" "Is what possible?" "Do you … come from the Hereafter?" Candy nodded. "Actually I come from a place called America." "America." Izarith spoke the word like a prayer. "You have dollars, and you come from America." She shook her head in disbelief. Candy went down on her haunches before the fire and peeled the now almost dried dollars off the hearth. "Here," she said, offering them to Izarith. "You have them." Izarith shook her head, her expression one of religious awe. "No, no I couldn't. Not dollars. Angels use dollars, not Skizmut like me." "Take it from me," Candy said. "I'm not an angel. Very far from it. And what's a Skizmut?" "My people are Skizmut. Or they were, generations ago. The bloodline's been diluted, over the years. You have to go back to my great-grandfather for a pure Skizmut." She looked melancholy; an expression which suited the form of her face better than any other. "Why so sad?" "I just wish I could go back into the deeps and make my home there, away from all this …" Izarith cast her sad eyes toward the window, which was without frames or panes. The crowd outside moved like a relentless parade. Candy could see how hard it would be to exist in this tiny hovel, with the twilight throng moving up and down the street outside, all the hours that God sent. "When you say the deeps," Candy replied, "do you mean the sea?" "Yes. Mama Izabella. The Skizmut had cities down there. Deep in the ocean. Beautiful cities made of white stone." "Have you ever seen them?" "No, of course not. After two generations, you lose the way of the fish. I would drown, like you." "So what can you do?" "Live on a boat, as close as we can to the deeps. Live with the rhythm of Mother Izabella beneath us." "Well, perhaps the dollars will help you and Ruthus buy a boat," Candy said. Candy handed Izarith a ten and one single, keeping six for herself. Izarith laughed out loud, the music in her laughter so infectious that her daughter, Maiza, started laughing too. "Eleven dollars? Eleven. It would buy two boats! Three boats! It's like eleven paterzem! More, I think!" She looked up, suddenly anxious. "And this is really for me?" she said, as though she was afraid the gift would be reclaimed. "It's all yours," Candy said, feeling a little odd about sounding too magnanimous. After all, it was only eleven bucks. "I'm going to spend a little piece of this one," Izarith said, selecting a single, and pocketing the rest. "I'm going to buy some food. The children haven't eaten this day. I think you haven't either." Her eyes were shining; their joy increased by the silvery luster that was the gift of her Skizmut breeding. "Will you stay with them, while I go out?" she said. "Of course," Candy said. She suddenly realized she was starving. "And Maiza?" "Yes, Muma?" "Will you be kind to the lady from the Hereafter, while I fetch bread and milk?" "Grish fritters!" said Maiza. "Is that what you want? Grish fritters with noga seeds?" "Grish fritter with noga seeds! Grish fritter with noga seeds!" "I won't be long," Izarith said. "We'll be fine," Candy said, sitting down beside the child in front of the fire. "Won't we, Maiza?" The child smiled again, her tiny teeth semitranslucent, carrying a hint of blue. "Grish fritters with noga seeds!" she said. "All for me!" Abarat . Copyright © by Clive Barker . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Abarat by Clive Barker, Clive Barker All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Mission
Part 1 Morningtide
1. Room Nineteenp. 11
2. What Henry Murkitt Left Behindp. 19
3. Doodlep. 26
4. "Street Ends"p. 35
5. A Shore Without a Seap. 41
6. The Lady Ascendsp. 50
7. Light and Waterp. 60
8. A Moment with Melissap. 71
9. Events on the Jettyp. 75
Part 2 Twilight and Beyond
10. The Watersp. 87
11. The Card Playersp. 93
12. A Talk on the Tidep. 101
13. In The Great Headp. 113
14. Carrionp. 123
Part 3 Where is When?
15. Bugp. 137
16. The Universal Eyep. 144
17. Almenakp. 156
18. The Tale of Hark's Harborp. 164
19. On Vesper's Rockp. 173
20. The World Through Borrowed Eyesp. 182
21. The Huntp. 189
Part 4 Wicked Strange
22. In Gallows Forestp. 197
23. The Man Who Made the Kidp. 207
24. Digger and Dragonsp. 221
25. Mischief Undonep. 240
26. The House of Liesp. 256
27. Words with the Criss-Cross Manp. 274
28. A Slave's Soulp. 284
29. Cat's Eyesp. 296
30. "Come Thou Glyph to Me"p. 308
31. The Twenty-Fifth Hourp. 328
32. Monsoonp. 350
33. All Things in Timep. 363
34. Different Destiniesp. 375
Appendix Some Excerpts From Klepp's Almenakp. 395